I find Tony Hsieh's, Delivering Happiness, to be tremendously inspiring.
There are so many great stories and suggestions in the book, I want to share a few of them with you.
By all means, buy the book. It's a great read for anyone who owns, or wants to impact, a business.
The number one driver of Zappos' growth has been repeat customers and word of mouth.
The company's philosophy has been to take the money it would have spent on paid advertising and spend it on customer service and the customer experience instead, letting customers do the marketing for them via word-of-mouth -- the most cost efficient form of advertising there is.
Given that consumers trust what their friends, families and people thany don't know online three times more than what a company says about itself. this is a brilliant strategy.
So how does Zappos define great customer service?
The first thing customers see when they visit the web site is that Zappos offers free shipping both ways to make the transaction as easy as possible and take away any concerns about shoes or clothes not fitting.
Many customers will order five different pairs of shoes, try them on with five different outfits in the comfort and convenience of their own home, and then send back the one's that don't fit, or they don't like -- free of charge. The additional shipping costs are expensive but Zappos views this as a marketing expense.
Zappos has set a very high bar for providing outstanding customer service whether you're a brick and mortar, or online, retailer.
The company offers a 365-day return policy for customers who have trouble committing or making up their minds.
Unlike its owner, Amazon, Zappos also prominently displays its contact information.
The 800-number is on every page of the web site and the call center is staffed 24/7.
Rather than viewing their call center as an expense that must be managed, Zappos views their call center as an untapped opportunity to build relationships and have conversations with their customers.
This results in greater word-of-mouth marketing as well as greater opportunity to increase the lifetime value of the customer.
It also creates and emotional connection between the customer and the brand.
Zappos believes the lifetime value of a customer can be increased if they can create more and more positive emotional associations with their brand through every interaction a person has with them.
Given the emotional link between consumers and brands, products and services, this is absolutely true.
Rather than trying to generate "buzz," Zappos focuses on building trust.
They do this by underpromising and over delivering. Zappos will provide an upgrade to overnight shipping while the customer thinks they're getting the package delivered by ground.
The combination of a 24/7 warehouse, surprise upgrades to overnight shipping, having the warehouse located 15 minutes from the UPS Worldport hub means customers can order as late as midnight EST and receive the order on their doorstep eight hours later.
This creates a "Wow" experience which the customer remembers for a long time and tells her or his friends and family about.
What can your business do to provide a "wow" experience for your customers?
How about build trust?